The Jeffrey Mine, an asbestos mine in the small town of Asbestos in Quebec, Canada, has just had new life breathed into it with approval by Canadian officials of a $58 million loan guarantee that will support an expansion of the now inactive mine. The expansion would allow the mine to produce up to 180,000 tons of chrysotile asbestos by 2012, and 225,000 tons per year thereafter. Primarily, the asbestos will be exported to India. Asbestos is a carcinogen and is shown to cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and other respiratory illnesses.
Despite outcry from Quebec’s scientific and medical leaders, the international anti-asbestos community, and other organizations that sent letters directly to the government requesting Canada stop exporting the deadly mineral, the government believes the economic benefit outweighs any potential health hazards.
“It’s outrageous that a government would permit this toxic mineral to be shipped elsewhere, where it can expose another generation to illness,” said asbestos attorney Joseph W. Belluck.
Asbestos was once widely used in a variety of products in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere, including in insulation, automotive brakes, fireproofing, pipe covering, cement mixtures, joint compounds and floor tiles. Construction and industrial workers have been especially exposed to the mineral.
Today, asbestos use is limited in the United States but it is still not banned. It is also used around the world in developing countries. Researchers say that even small amounts of asbestos and infrequent exposure can create a risk for contracting mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases. Mesothelioma is highly aggressive and is resistant to many cancer treatments. Currently there is no known cure for the disease.
The New York Times recently reported that Philip Landrigan, Dean of Global Health at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, stated in a letter to Quebec Premier Jean Charest that “there is no safe exposure level. It goes on killing for generations.”
“As an attorney who has seen up close the impact of asbestos exposure on the lives of mesothelioma victims and their families, I can’t imagine how anyone would support expanding this operation,” Belluck said. “It’s time to put an end to asbestos production – period – and put public safety first.” Belluck, a partner in Belluck & Fox, LLP, is one of the country’s leading advocates for the rights of mesothelioma victims.
Canada ranks as the world’s fifth largest exporter of Chrysotile asbestos. The expansion of Jeffrey Mine would create 425 full-time jobs in the town of Asbestos and keep Canada in the asbestos market for 25 years.
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or other asbestos-related disease, you need to speak with our knowledgeable asbestos lawyers at Belluck & Fox, LLP today. Our legal team can review your case for free and explain the process for filing a claim. We do all the legal legwork, so you and your family can focus on your health. Visit our New York law office now.